Sarpa salpa, known commonly as the dreamfish, salema, salema porgy, cow bream or goldline, is a species of sea bream, recognisable by the golden stripes that run down the length of its body, and which can cause Ichthyoallyeinotoxism when eaten. It is found in the East Atlantic, where it ranges from the Bay of Biscay to South Africa, as well as in the Mediterranean. It has occasionally been found as far north as Great Britain. It is generally common and found from near the surface to a depth of 70 m (230 ft). Males are typically 15 to 30 cm (6–12 in) in length, while females are usually 31 to 45 cm (12–18 in). The maximum size is 51 cm (20 in).
Sarpa salpa became widely known for its ichthyoallyeinotoxic effects following widely publicized articles in 2006, when two men ingested it at a Mediterranean restaurant and began to experience many auditory and visual hallucinogenic effects. These hallucinations, described as frightening, were reported to have occurred two hours after the fish was ingested and had a total duration of 36 hours.
The fish, and especially its viscera, have been assessed as potentially unsafe by a study conducted on Mediterranean specimens. It is believed that the fish ingests a particular algae or phytoplankton which renders it Ichthyoallyeinotoxic.
- Bizsel, C.; Kara, M.H.; Pollard, D.; Yokes, B.; Goren, M. & Francour, P. (15 April 2015). "Sarpa salpa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 15 April 2015.old-form url
- Fish that triggers hallucinations found off British coast. The Daily Telegraph May 13, 2009. Accessed May 27, 2013.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). "Sarpa salpa" in FishBase. April 2015 version.
- Jadot, C.; Donnay, A.; Acolas, M.; Cornet, Y.; Begoutanras, M. (2006). "Activity patterns, home-range size, and habitat utilization of Sarpa salpa (Teleostei: Sparidae) in the Mediterranean Sea". ICES Journal of Marine Science. 63 (1): 128–139. doi:10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.06.010.
- Pommier, De Haro (October 2006). "Hallucinatory Fish Poisoning (Ichthyoallyeinotoxism): Two Case Reports From the Western Mediterranean and Literature Review". Clinical Toxicology 2006, Vol. 44, No. 2 : Pages 187. doi:10.1080/15563650500514590.
- "This Hallucinogenic Fish Was Used By The Romans As A Recreational Drug", accessed 17 October 2017, https://truththeory.com/2017/02/26/hallucinogenic-fish-used-romans-recreational-drug/
- "'Hallucination' fish netted in Channel". the Guardian. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2021-07-24.
- Khaled Bellassoued; Jos Van Pelt & Abdelfattah Elfeki (22 Sep 2014). "Neurotoxicity in rats induced by the poisonous dreamfish (Sarpa salpa)". Pharmaceutical Biology 2015, Vol. 53, No. 11 : Pages 286-295. doi:10.3109/13880209.2014.916311.
Liver and especially the visceral part of S. salpa presented toxicity, which clearly indicates the danger of using this fish as food.
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- Photos of Salema porgy on Sealife Collection